A season of gingerbread, Swiss rolls, and sugar plums demands a good rum. There’s just something about the molasses-tinged sweetness of a complex rum on a snowy night that feels so right this time of year. And when it comes party time, rum is the most fun to drink with a crowd—a spirit predestined for pitchers and pineapples and leading to the kind of general frivolity necessary to survive the months ahead.
Spirit buffs might approach a well-crafted rum by thinking on its place of origin—pondering how an island’s climate, culture, and colonial past might have guided the spirit’s flavor. Normal people, on the other hand, can appreciate the familiar winter flavors that quality rum brings to the table—dark fruits, baking spices, and a spectrum of sugars from grassy cane to smoky blackstrap.
Give the gift of rum this holiday season. Here are five bottles to start the merriment.
Havana Club Anejo Blanco
The only white rum you’ll ever need. See how much better your standard rum drinks get after trading in your Bacardí for this stuff.
Amrut Old Port Deluxe Rum
Here’s one for your friend who always calls for the Captain. This Indian rum delivers a subtle fruitiness on the palate that slides into a long-lasting finish of warming ginger spice.
Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum
A rum first and pineapple rum second, but a swell supporting note of sweet pulp makes it a natural in anything tiki. Build a punch on it. (Plantation has tons of good gifting choices, like the O.F.T.D. in our Rum and Julmust, or their single cask series.)
A rum with soul and warmth. The profile is an easygoing sweetness, vanilla to butterscotch to creme brulee. This is a rum for sipping neat on fuzzy blankets in secluded cabins.
The only single-estate rum being made in America. Homegrown Georgia Red cane plus Wisconsin white oak equals a sip that should be appreciated like a fine single malt, with floral aromas and a mellow caramel finish.